Today, I attended a “mini-retreat” with the Larimer County Republicans. It actually ended up being a good meeting and really was an interesting “test” of my endurance. This was the longest single meeting that I have attended in my recovery process. I was pleased that I ended the day feeling as good and refreshed as I did.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… His servants went up to him [Naaman] and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. Now why can’t you just wash yourself, as he said, and be cured?” So Naaman went down to the Jordan, dipped himself in it seven times, as Elisha had instructed, and he was completely cured. His flesh became firm and healthy like that of a child…[Naaman] said, “Now I know that there is no god but the God of Israel….” 2 Kings 5:13,14
The story of the healing of Naaman the Syrian of leprosy is has some unique characteristics. Naaman was a military commander of the Syrian’s, Israel’s enemy. An Israelite girl, who had been taken captive was the servant to Naaman’s wife. Even though she was captive in a foreign land she still knew and believed in a God who did miracles. She told Naaman’s wife about the Lord’s prophet and a powerful God of miracles.
When Naaman approaches the prophet Elisha’s house, Elisha doesn’t even come out. He sent his servant to meet the dignitary and tell him to wash seven times in the River Jordan. This doesn’t meet Naaman’s expectations and he is upset by the instructions. His servant intervenes and pleads with him to do something that seemed very humiliating. When Naaman consented he received a miracle of healing.
When I look at this familiar account I am reminded that…
God uses us in our unlikely circumstances. This servant girl was far from home, captive in a foreign land. Yet she did not lose her faith and was bold enough and had compassion enough on her ungodly master to direct him to the source of help that she knew he needed. Sometimes the Lord uses us just to “nudge” people in the right direction. This miracles would not have taken place if this servant girl had remained silent. It all started with her.
God works outside of our expectations. Naaman had to have been insulted that the prophet did not personally come out to greet him. Not only that, he expected the prophet to come out and wave his arms and offer a prayer in order for him to be healed. This idea of dipping seven times in a river in Israel was not what he expected to take place. His initial response to taking offense at the prophet’s instructions almost robbed him of a miracle.
God delights in simplicity and obedience. Naaman’s servant’s responded to their master with reminding him that if he was instructed to do something great he would have….so why not something so simple. This reminds me of some people and their hesitation to just “believe and be saved.” It seems so simple, that many balk at receiving the greatest miracle ever. Naaman wasn’t excited about the Jordan River either. He felt the rivers of his own country were far better. Why couldn’t he go home and just wash in one of those? Once again, we can get stuck in trying to figure out the “why” that it keeps us from just “doing” – responding in obedience.
God intervenes in lives to change lives. Naaman received new skin and a new God. He realized that the Lord God of Israel was the true God. Elisha would not accept Naaman’s gifts, but Naaman asked to take dirt from Israel back to Syria to build a place of sacrifice to the Lord God. I am confident that the Lord saw the sincerity of Naaman’s heart. He didn’t take time (as far as we know) to get instructions on the law of Moses and the rituals for sacrifices. He didn’t realize that only priests were to offer sacrifices. He just knew that the Lord God was the One he wanted to worship, even in a pagan land.
Accounts like this can challenge our understanding of how God works and in whom He works and who He uses in the process. God can use you. It may be just “nudging” someone toward a miracle. Then remember God works outside of our expectations. It is faith and obedience that brings the miracle. Finally, God is faithful to work “on us and in us.” Encounters with the Lord of miracles are to make us aware of who He is and to result in our lives being committed to Him with all of our heart.